The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF) was forged in the legislative cauldron of the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez casualty. However, its genesis really began with Congressional consideration and debate concerning whether to adopt an international liability and compensation regime or improve the unilateral system unique to the United States. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 significantly expanded the scope of the unique U.S. mechanism, while at the same time it urged the Administration to continue to examine the possibilities of becoming party to an international regime. Ten years after the Exxon Valdez casualty provides a convenient and appropriate time frame for reflection on how well the public has been served by the establishment and implementation of the regime of which the OSLTF is a major element. The impact on various publics served and stakeholders impacted will be analyzed and evaluated. While there are clearly differences in scope, application, and funding mechanisms between the U.S. and international regime, there are substantial similarities in terms of process, administration, areas of concern and interest.
The views presented in this paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Coast Guard.